Sales management is a strategic business discipline that is focused on the management of the various sales processes and the rational application of business strategies. As the global sales drive continues to increase, it has become increasingly important for companies to develop and implement sales management processes that are aligned with the company’s strategy and objectives. Managing the various sales functions in an organized manner has become much easier over the years with the development of new and more advanced sales process and sales management tools. As most leading organizations are using a combination of different sales approaches, it has become increasingly important for them to effectively manage their sales and customer service activities. In fact, recent surveys indicate that managers consider sales management to be one of the key drivers behind employee satisfaction and employee motivation.
Sales managers have two main concerns when managing the various activities related to sales and customer service: generating new sales leads and retaining existing leads. Achieving these two important tasks often requires the help of CRM software. CRM software helps in both, developing new sales leads and retaining existing ones. In fact, recent studies indicate that a significant percentage of sales managers consider CRM to be the single most influential sales and customer management tool at the disposal of the manager.
The importance of sales management software in sales and customer service cannot be underestimated. Ideally, sales management software would encompass features that would allow tracking of leads, inventory levels, order history, call details and so on. With the progress of today’s CRM systems, these functions can now be achieved in real time by means of email, web and mobile applications. Sales leads can also be tracked through tools like online survey tools and activity lead generation systems. Another popular trend in CRM today is the integration of activity leads with sales processes.
Sales forecasting is another important facet of the sales management process. Sales forecasting enables decision-makers to plan for the sales volume and to evaluate potential sales opportunities based on various factors such as product features and functions, market conditions, customer needs and so on. Sales forecasting is therefore an integral part of the overall sales management process and must be managed effectively. It enables decision-makers to determine which sales activities should be undertaken and when. Some of the factors considered in forecasting include product returns, break-even and operating costs, channel relationships and competition.
In order for a manager to effectively manage his/her sales team, an effective sales management strategy must be formulated. A strong sales team is only as good as its manager, and it is very important for the manager to provide effective leadership and management training for his/her team members. Sales managers need to inspire loyalty in the team members and have a clear perception of what the company’s future requirements are.
Good managers know how to motivate team members to work towards common sales goals. They also make every effort to foster camaraderie and teamwork within the sales management team. The key to sales management therefore is to foster communication and team building between team members. Effective sales managers are also well aware of how the role of each individual sales team member varies. For example, there are different kinds of leads in different areas, and different types of sales jobs and job functions. The manager needs to carefully evaluate each role and decide which aspects of each role need to be focused upon to achieve the overall sales target.